Why I started Olivine and Ruby

Before I started Olivine and Ruby, I was a primary school teacher. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it.  But as soon as I had both of my daughters in close succession (there are only 18 months between them), I felt that juggling teacher hours and being a new mum was going to be pretty tough with two young babies. I toyed with the idea of going back part time which was probably the best solution for me at the time. But actually, what I really wanted, and have done for years, was to start my own business. I kind of have always had that mindset of wanting to work for myself so whilst on maternity leave, that process began. And that is how Olivine and Ruby started.

I have always had a huge interest in interior design and home decoration. Ever since I worked at IKEA during my college years, I had a fascination with Scandinavian design - the classic looking, simplistic minimalist style but with touches of homeliness and cosiness. I loved how different moods could be created by using different things within the home - scented candles, ornaments and lighting being some of them. I fell in love with that concept and adored my job within the Communications and Interior Design team at IKEA. I studied Graphic Arts at university too, so always had a creative mind.

So, a decade (and two kids) later whilst on maternity leave, with my love of design coupled with wanting to have my own business, I was trying to think what I could do in order to work for myself. One Christmas, I was in a famous candle brand's store shopping for gifts. I said to my partner, “I wonder how difficult it is to make scented candles.” (I initially thought it would be mega easy - how wrong I was!) I thought, you know what, I could probably do this. I went home, bought a candle making kit online and the rest is history! By the way, when I say the rest is history, I mean I won’t go into detail about the huge up and down, pulling my hair out tidal wave of frustration and energy-zapping challenge that is candle making. I will save that for another time…

I’m not going to lie, candle making requires a huge amount of skill, determination and a supportive network of family and friends. More so, you need Patience with a capital P.  I have been making scented candles for a long time now and I wouldn’t be where I am today without so much trial and error (or ‘trial and improvement’ which is what they call it in schools these days). Candle making is a slow process. Making one is like nurturing a baby - they need time, attention and care. I have definitely learnt a few more skills in the patience department. Before I started making and before I was a mum, I was always willing things to hurry up. I still kind of do, but making scented candles has helped massively. As well as this, I had to remember all of my mathematics and science skills I learnt at school, have the ability to tap into my customers needs, understand marketing, see things from a creative point of view… the list is endless.

 The ethos behind the brand is centered all around travel and nostalgia. This photo is of me back in 2016 in Rocinha favela in Rio de Janeiro. I really love to see the world and have always travelled; that’s why my brand's slogan is “Moments, memories, sentiments”. I wanted to create fragrances that triggered memories for me but also inspired others to travel. It seems like a match made in heaven combining my candle fragrances with my favourite places. As well as travel being a huge part of my brand, my children are too. In fact, I doubt I would be doing this if it wasn’t for them. Becoming a mum pushed me to test myself, see what I could achieve and do something for myself. Any parent or carer will know how important that is. Now I'm at this point where I'm actually selling the scented candles that were once a little dream of mine and it seems wild. I’ve built up this brand with my artistic skills, passion for home design and creative eye. It has been a real journey so far and most importantly, I have been able to utilise my skillsets and roll them all into one role that suits me.

 So here I am, four months in since officially starting the business. I don’t often sit and reflect about the process of how I got from A to B. Nevertheless, it feels really important to do so, so I can see how far I have come. Especially on those days when I have two crazy toddlers swinging off both of my legs and I feel like the busiest, stressiest, shoutiest person in the world! I guess, what I am trying to do is give myself a pat on the back for going after what I want to do and not giving up during such a rollercoaster of a year. I am looking forward to seeing what is in store next for Olivine and Ruby.


Thanks for reading,

Charlotte x

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